Sightsavers has been working in Malawi since the 1950s. Our focus in the country is to improve eye health, protect against blinding diseases and make sure children with disabilities receive the support they need.

A man is being led across a river by his wife. The water of the river is just below their knees.

Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. Almost 85 per cent of the population lives in remote, rural communities that are far from the country’s few eye health centres.

It’s thought that more than 160,000 people in Malawi have visual impairments, with half caused by cataracts. Much of our work in the country involves helping to improve eye care services, particularly in rural areas, so people with visual impairments can be diagnosed and treated.

In Malawi, 8.2 million people live in areas at risk of trachoma, and more than 12,500 people have the advanced stage of the disease that can lead to blindness. Sightsavers is working to eliminate trachoma and provides vital outreach to isolated communities, enabling health workers to reach as many people as possible.

In 2017 we helped to distribute more than 1.2 million antibiotic treatments for trachoma. Surveys show the country is on track to eliminate the disease by 2019.

At a glance

Total population
  • 18 million

  • What we focus on
  • Cataracts
  • Trachoma

    Key programmes
  • Cataract surgery
  • Tropical Data Project
  • A billion NTD treatments
  • CATCH: coordinated health

  • A woman has her eyes examined as part of a CATCH screening programme in Uganda.

    Our projects in Malawi

    Sightsavers manages the Coordinated Approach To Eye Health (CATCH) project in Malawi, which aims to improve treatment for people who live in areas where trachoma is present.

    Sightsavers coordinates its trachoma outreach camps with other eye care services, meaning people that arrive at the camps with eye problems other than trachoma, such as cataracts, can be referred for treatment elsewhere. The CATCH programme also aims to improve local health systems to ensure patients are able to receive a high standard of eye care in the future.

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